Wherever the traveller goes in Britain, whether it be city, town, village or remote moor or glen, he will almost certainly see a stone cross. Some are imposing, slender and graceful. Made of stone, they usually rise from a base of steps. Some will be broken, disfigured and hardly recognizable as crosses at all. Many were smashed by parliamentary decree in 1643 and some are just the victims of time. Many will be passed by with but a cursory glance; this is a pity, for many are of great antiquity and are a vivid reminder of our past. They have even given us the saying "the cross marks the spot." Built in a number of styles, nearly all owe their existence to a variety of interesting and romantic reasons.

The earliest had purely religious significance. They were erected by Christian missionaries on the spots where they gained converts to Christianity from among the heathen Saxons. In putting up such a cross a twofold object was achieved; the Saxon's worshipped, among other things, stone pillars, so in their new religion, the sign of the cross thus unostentatiously took the place of their old idols.

Then came the preaching crosses, used about 1220 by wandering friars, who not only preached religion but gave the news of the day; a kind of travelling newspaper. There were also market crosses, many erected in Saxon times. These crosses had two purposes, one practical, one moral. The first to mark the place where trading took place, the second, to remind people of the need for piety and righteous behaviour in the dealing of life.

Crosses are often seen standing amongst fields; these were used by monks to mark the boundaries of monastic lands. Wayside crosses were placed along, or at the intersection of pilgrim's routes to shrines and holy places. At these crosses the pilgrims could stop to rest and pray. Many of these ancient tracks were linked, thus creating a network of communications. There is a theory that the tracks, crosses and burial mounds were not erected at random, but fell into patterns of straight lines known as "ley lines," thus creating a navigational map over the whole country.

The Weeting cross almost certainly marks the track to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and it has been suggested that religious services were held there. It is impossible to be certain of its age but in the 18th century Bloomfield refers to the cross as follows "In the fields of Weting north of the town, is a Greenway called Walsingham Way, used by pilgrim's on their way to the Lady of Walsingham, a madona of such repute that the Galavia or Milky Way was called by the people of these parts the Walsingham Way as pointing to that angle, here formally a stone cross, now broke in two pieces, called the Stump Crosses. Built of Barnack stone, probably dating before 1400bc."

In volume 25 of "Norfolk Archaeology," the cross in mentioned as follows: "Tom Martin in his notes (1718) speaking of St Mary's Church in the parish (of Weeting) says " Cross in churchyard," but I cannot find it. Describing a journey from Thetford to Methwold on 19th June 1720, he says "After you have passed Santon and Broomhill, there stands part of a crosses upon a hill between Weeting and Methwold. It is broken in two and set each side of the road as boundaryes." Mr Cambden in his edit calls them, "Two stump crosses set in ye way to Walsingham, for directions of pilgrims." This cross is in a wood at Mount Ephraim, beside a drive cut through the wood. Faden's map of 1797 shows a road leading from Weeting to Northwold and the Ordnance Survey map marks a modern track nearby as Pilgrim's Walk. In 1934 a travel booklet for Brecklands stated, "all that remained of the cross was a base with top angles, more ornamented than usual. Lying beside it was four foot of square shaft, grooved at the corners, looking as if it had been recently broken from the base at the mortice hole. Nearby was a flat stone, which could have been the capital. The property is Crown land and all around the forest is springing up. It might be wise to repair it and move it to a less isolated spot on the same old road".

All that remains today is the base and the upright, no trace of the other stones can be found. It is a pity that the suggestions voiced in 1934 were not implemented, as today we would have a complete structure as a reminder of our ancient past.

Gerry Moore 2002